This is murderer Gerard Cervi brandishing a gun at shooting range - just months before he’d open fire and kill a man in Bray Boxing Club.
Our exclusive photos show Cervi, 36, who has now been jailed for life for the murder of innocent man Bobby Messett, practicing at a gun range in the United States months before the shooting at the boxing club on June 5, 2018. In the pics Cervi can be seen holding what appears to be a Smith and Weston 29 double-action revolver - made famous by Clint Eastwood’s ‘Dirty Harry’ movie.
Posing for the pics at the time, Cervi even boasted to pals that he looked like the famous cop character from the iconic 1971 film. A video of Cervi at the gun range, of which stills can now be shown for the first time, was actually shown to him while he was being quizzed over the murder at Bray Garda Station.
However the killer, who has now been convicted by a jury, never offered up any explanation for why he murdered Mr Messett and fired indiscriminately into a gym class - injuring well known boxing coach Pete Taylor and Ian Britton in the process. Gardai suspect that Cervi had a significant drug debt and that he may have carried out the shooting on the orders of a criminal gang. However to this day the full motive for Cervi’s actions are not fully known.
It is understood however that gardai do not believe that Mr Messett, who was shot in the head, was Cervi’s intended target. During Cervi’s trial the prosecuting counsel had told the jury that CCTV evidence was sufficient to convict him, but when added to the presence of his DNA and fingerprints in a Volkswagen Caddy van that the prosecution alleged was used by the gunman, it led to the "inevitable" conclusion that he was guilty.
The 12 jurors rejected the defence case that there wasn't an "iota" of evidence to identify Cervi as the gunman. At Cervi's second trial, Pete Taylor explained how he made a run toward the gunman but failed to see a bench that caught his leg. "When I was diving over it, the bench caught my leg, and then I got shot and that spun me around," said Mr Taylor.
Prosecuting counsel Mr Murray said the effect on Mr Taylor's body angle "when he tripped or fell" appeared to have saved him from more serious injury "if not death".
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